Budget 2016: Second time lucky - what these Kiwis want

The Herald last year spoke to several people before and after the Budget. We catch up with them to see what's changed in a year and what they would like to see this time around.

The state house tenants

About this time last year, Mathew Tauia and his wife, Tuhe, dreamed of building their own home.

They had hoped Budget announcements would help them towards that goal.

But a year on, Mr Tauia believes it will never become a reality, because of soaring Auckland house prices and a lack of housing funding.

The family were living in a state home in West Auckland with their children, paying $325 a week.

Now they are renting a private home in Massey for $480 a week after being forced out by a state policy requiring them to make way for a needier family.

Between them, the couple earn about $89,000 a year - both are support workers for disabled people.

Since moving, Mr Tauia has been forced to get a secondary job. It brings in extra cash but he is now having to pay secondary tax, which is slicing his income.

Mr Tauia said the extra money needed to pay rent had made life "pretty tough".

"It is another burden financially. When all our bills go out, probably we have a fortnight ... which is pretty tough. Every week we just say, 'Is this week fortnight or odd week?' A fortnight will be more bills and that is more strain on us grocery-wise and for petrol," he said.

"We don't travel far."

For this year's Budget, Mr Tauia would like to see more funding put into childcare services.

Previously, his children would go into a community-based holiday programme during the school break which cost the family $2 a week per child, he said. That programme had now ended.

"That saved us hundreds of dollars per week ... I guess when school holidays come up we will probably have to knock on the doors of our extended family and ask for help."

- Regan Schoultz

The victims of crime

Phil and Sharyn Taunt. Photo / Supplied
Phil and Sharyn Taunt. Photo / Supplied

Police need to focus on solving burglaries, say a couple whose case was never solved and have had to invest thousands of dollars to secure their home.

Westmere couple Phil and Sharyn Taunt have even bought a German shepherd puppy after a brazen daylight break-in at Easter 2015.

Last year, the couple told the Herald their concerns with the frozen police budget and suspected the financial focus on response rates rather than investigations would result in more of the crimes going unsolved.

"We have had no further contact from the police at all, which confirms the suspicion that we had that the budget would reflect the number of burglaries solves," Mr Taunt said yesterday.

The Herald revealed this year that more than 90 per cent of the country's burglaries went unsolved last year, with a resolution rate of just 5.2 per cent in Auckland City.

Mr Taunt said the couple lost $10,000 of jewellery and technology - but it was irreplaceable family videos, antiques and the violation of their home that affected them.

"It was violating - someone had come into our place and rifled through our treasures. Your home is meant to be your castle. It would be good to know that the burglar was caught."

While insurance replaced the lost items, the couple still paid an extra $5000 to increase their home security including an upgraded alarm system, security door, new fencing and new window locks.

"We even went as far as getting a dog which the finger printing man from the police recommended. If the focus was on solving burglaries we might never have had to pay that."

Mrs Taunt said it was shocking that the police budget had gone unchanged for six years.

"You're never going to please everybody and yes, of course things like drugs and child abuse are far more serious and absolutely something we need to stamp out, but if someone starts with burglaries, in some cases maybe that is what it leads on to.

"[Police officers] are out there every day on the front line giving it their all for us and I take my hats off to them, but they need the money to do it."

- Morgan Tait

The healthcare campaigner

Peter Krijger in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Peter Krijger in Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Bowel cancer survivor Peter Krijger is "hoping and praying" the Budget will at last deliver a national screening programme to detect the disease.

"We are losing 1200 New Zealanders a year to bowel cancer," said the 55-year-old Wellington IT specialist. "We could save a considerable number of those people with a screening programme because we would be detecting bowel cancer early.

"Bowel cancer is detectable and if caught early it's treatable and pretty much curable in more than 75 per cent of cases.

"I'm hoping and praying that we will see the commitment to have an immediate start to the national bowel screening programme roll-out.

"We need to make sure bowel screening is available and accessible to all New Zealanders regardless of where they live in this country," said Mr Krijger, who had surgery and radiotherapy to eradicate his cancer in 2005.

He has been clear of the disease since. He has three-yearly colonoscopy bowel checks and during the last one a potentially pre-cancerous lesion, a "polyp", was removed".

At present, organised bowel screening is available only to residents of the Waitemata health district in a pilot scheme which, as its planned four years was about to end, was extended in last year's Budget to the end of next year.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman sees a national screening programme, which would cost taxpayers $40 million to $60 million a year, as inevitable, but governments have dithered over the issue for more than a decade.

Last July, Dr Coleman said he expected to put a business case for a programme to ministers by the end of last year and that this would "consider a potential staged roll-out ... from early 2017".

This month he said, "A business case is still being finalised."

- Martin Johnston

The first-home hunters

Natalie Allison and Glen Allison. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Natalie Allison and Glen Allison. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Before last year's Budget, Glen Allison and wife Natalie were looking to buy a home in Auckland and hoping interest rates would be lowered.

A year on, the couple, in their 30s, have successfully bought their first home in West Auckland. Mr Allison said the house purchase, completed last July, had been a long time coming.

"We went to a few different auctions before we found the right one. It is a nice home now. There were quite a few months of searching and carrying on."

The couple, who have a 2-year-old daughter named Paige, struggled in their search for a house within their $600,000 price range. They were due to attend their third auction when they spoke to the Herald last year and had already spent more than $1000 in their due diligence.

Now they have a mortgage and expect to be paying it off for the next 15 to 20 years.

Mr Allison said mortgage rates had dropped in the past year but it had not had a huge effect on the couple.

"I know mortgage rates have dropped, I don't know if that is specifically related to the Budget or the banks themselves, they are certainly lower than they were before.

"The same problem applies, any changes to the mortgage rates, [be that] up and down, you never know if they are going to be a long-term change or a short-term change."

He said there had been lots of talk about first-home buyer packages and it seemed as though there had been a lot of focus on that. "Whether that will be done more, I'm not sure. There seems to be a lot of housing being built."

Mr Allison said he wasn't hoping for anything specific from this Budget but he didn't expect there would be much change to mortgage rates.

"Now that we have done the big purchase and got the house under way, that locks us up for the next 15 to 20 years. It will just be more of the same."

- Regan Schoultz

The frequent healthcare users

Detroit Pakeho, 4, Kelvin Pakeho, Mereana Apiata and Fontaine Pakeho, 7. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
Detroit Pakeho, 4, Kelvin Pakeho, Mereana Apiata and Fontaine Pakeho, 7. Photo / Jason Oxenham.

For the good of everyone's health, doctors' fees should be reduced, says South Auckland mum and childcare worker Mereana Apiata.

She and her partner Kelvin Pakeho, who works at a quarry, have a daughter, Fontaine, 8, and a son, Detroit, 5. The family have been high users of the health system because Fontaine has asthma which, although now well managed by the family's medical clinic, has led to hospital admissions.

The Greenstone Family Clinic in Manurewa does not charge fees for children under 18, which goes further than the Government's free-under-13 policy for GP visits and prescriptions, introduced last July.

"I think there's a huge improvement from last [May]. Most of my daughter's prescriptions have been free."

But Ms Apiata wants the Government to stump up more cash to eradicate fees for all teens and reduce them for adults. "With teenagers it's a testing time through puberty and adolescence; anything could happen, so they should be able to use the services, especially for the families that can't afford it.

"Teenagers are probably too scared to go to doctors because they have to pay whopping fees."

Ms Apiata's 53-year-old mother has the community services card and still pays at least $35 to see a doctor in Canterbury.

- NZ Herald

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